Linux Mint 21 released, this is the news

The stable version of Linux Mint 21 “Vanessa” is now available for download.

This is the latest release of the Ubuntu-based distribution and involves a considerable number of changes over the Linux Mint 20.3 release we saw earlier this year.

In this post I show you what’s new in Linux Mint 21, where to download it, and recap how to upgrade to Linux Mint 21 from a previous version if you were to run one.

As always, Linux Mint 21 is available in three distinct distillations: the flagship Cinnamon edition (which uses the Cinnamon desktop environment by default), an Xfce variant (which uses the Xfce desktop), and a MATE option (which comes with the default MATE desktop). In this post I mainly focus on the Cinnamon version.

For more details, read on.

Linux Mint 21: What’s New?

A screenshot of Linux Mint 21 with several open applications
Linux Mint 21 in action

Linux Mint 21 is based on Ubuntu 22.04 LTS, the latest long-term support release from Ubuntu. This provides Mint users with a flurry of fundamental changes and archive updates, more the peace of mind of knowing that security updates are guaranteed for your system for the next five years.

Yup: Linux Mint 21 is supported until 2027.

From a kernel point of view Mint 21 uses Linux 5.15. This offers (among other changes) a new NTFS file system driver (useful when interacting with Windows partitions), EXT4 file system improvements (Mint uses EXT4 by default), as well as better hardware support, security patch , bug fixes and all that jazz.

But what about the desktop?

Cinnamon 5.4

Linux Mint 21 ships with Cinnamon 5.4, the latest version of its relatively lightweight and WIMP-oriented user interface. In this iteration, the developers rebase the desktop on a more modern version of Mutter, a move designed to bring its code base closer to the upstream and reduce the delta.

Consequently, there are notable improvements in performance, compatibility and stability in this update. Now, to its credit Mint has always been pretty fast, even on older hardware, but the improvements in this area will certainly be appreciated by those using high- and mid-range hardware as much as low-end users.

A related change sees Cinnamon’s window manager Muffin render all windows using the GTK theme rather than a mix of GTK (CSD) and Metacity (SSD) window types as before. Apps appear more consistent with each other regardless of toolkit choice, and window elements appear sharp and undistorted.

Linux Mint 21 beta screenshot
Improved fractional scaling functionality in Mint 21

Improved window animations also characteristic, albeit at the expense of an expressed configurability. However, the developers of Mint paid attention to the default settings and found a good balance between speed and fluidity. Also included is a global control to adjust the speed of animations in Linux Mint 21 if you wish.

Modest improvements to the View the panel adds buttons for fractional resizing (rather than a drop-down menu) and there’s a back-end rejig on how fractional resizing is handled. The technical details here don’t matter as much as the effects – Linux Mint 21 looks like much more beautiful on high resolution displays.

Other changes in Linux Mint 21

Linux Mint 21 screenshot showing notes app and blueman bluetooth tool
Colorful notes and new Bluetooth manager

Linux Mint 21 introduces a new tool for connecting to Bluetooth devices. Blue man it is a desktop-independent approach that integrates well into all environments, including the Cinnamon, Xfce, and MATE experience of Linux Mint. Blueman is built on top of Bluez, the “official Linux Bluetooth protocol stack”.

There are also advanced thumbnails for the following file types in the file Nemo file manager:

  • AppImage
  • ePub
  • MP3 (album cover)
  • RAW images (most formats)
  • Webp

Also some Xapps, like the Pix image viewer, they are also capable of handling many of these formats.

Nemo file manager showing thumbnails for multiple file types including epub and webp
Nemo can show thumbnails for multiple file types

Mint is bundled Notes the app – one of my favorites, I must say – is capable of duplicating existing stickies. It also gives each new note a different color (browsing the set, not surprisingly). And the system tray icon has been redesigned to look more in tune with the rest of the Mint icon pack.

When an automated task is running in the background (e.g. system backups, updates, etc.) Mint now places a small indicator in the tray area. The idea is that this indicator will let users know if / when an active process is underway that could (however slight) impact performance.

Mint 21 also comes with the latest versions of the popular Linux software. This includes LibreOffice 7.3 for productivity needs, Mozilla Firefox 103 for web browsing, and Thunderbird 91 for realizing that you will never reach mailbox zero e-mail.

The updated software set comes pre-installed

Some other minor changes:

  • Timeshift is now maintained as an XApp
  • Xviewer document viewer improves directory browsing
  • If Warpinator cannot find any other devices, it now shows the links
  • Web App Management supports additional browsers / custom browser commands
  • Uninstalling apps from the main menu queries dependencies
  • The NVIDIA Prime applet allows you to cancel the graphics card change
  • copy System information statistics in the clipboard with a single click
  • Right-click on apps in the Mint menu to access quick list actions
  • Calendar applet now shows full duration of current / pending events
  • Power applet shows text + value when adjusting brightness
  • The audio applet hides the microphone mute icon when the microphone is not in use
  • The Window List applet allows you to change the width of the button
  • Shutdown timeout reduced to 10 seconds

Plus a lot more.

Download Linux Mint 21

The system requirements for Linux Mint 21 haven’t changed since Linux Mint 20, so if your computer is modern enough (64-bit processor, at least 2GB of RAM and 15GB of free space) you’re good to go. The Linux Mint website has a complete installation guide if you need assistance installing Linux Mint 21.

For more information, check out the official Linux Mint 21 “Vanessa” release notes or jump straight into action and download Linux Mint 21 from the Linux Mint website (where you have a direct download, a choice of mirrors, and torrent options).

h / t meta

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